How To Survive Results Day As A Parent

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  • With A-Level results day upon us, it is a difficult and exciting time for many of our children. They will be discovering whether their work throughout the year has paid off, and will be making important decisions about their futures.

    We know this period is all about them, but sometimes it is just as (if not more) stressful, difficult and exciting for us! We have raised them, we want the best for them, and we are probably having more sleepless nights than they are leading up to that big results day.

    Here’s how to handle results day, whatever the outcome…


    The dreaded morning before results are collected is going to be a tricky one. Your child will likely be panicking, and if they’re not, you’ll probably be panicking even more as you’ll be concerned about the fact that they are not panicking. Does this mean they don’t really care? Does it mean they’re quietly confident? You’ll be frantically thinking back to the exam period, wondering whether they revised enough, whether you supported/moaned at them enough and whether they seemed prepared. You’ll be going through all the different scenarios in your head and how to cope with them, whilst simultaneously attempting to reassure your child and tell them everything will be fine. Deep down, you’re probably much more scared than they are and you’re dreading the stress and upset of bad grades!

    Key Phrases:
    “It’s already been decided now so there’s no point worrying about it”
    “You did your best and that will show”
    “If it doesn’t work out, you can always stay at home for another year and spend some time with me…”
    “Don’t worry about what other people have got, only focus on yourself.’


    You will be inwardly (and maybe outwardly) bragging about how much of a great parent you have been and how clearly they have got all their brains from you. It will be difficult to hide the fact you are bursting with pride due to the grin that will be plastered across your face. You will immediately phone all your relatives to tell them the good news, and you will tell your child that all their hard work has paid off (despite you continuously moaning throughout the revision period that they weren’t doing enough). You’ll want to reward them – and this is fine – just don’t go overboard. A meal, day out or those trainers they’re desperate for are all more than enough to show how proud you are.

    Key Phrases:
    “You deserve it, honey”
    “I always knew you could do it”
    “The £40 I spent on revision guides was worth every penny”
    “See, that timetable I made for you really worked”


    The worst part about bad grades (or worse grades than expected) is if they are upset. Seeing our children disappointed is never enjoyable, especially if they worked really hard or had a specific aim in mind, like a university they didn’t get into or a subject they aren’t allowed to take. However annoyed you might be about their lack of hard work, or the upcoming stress while you attempt to sort retakes or gear them towards a new path, their sadness will be the biggest difficulty of the day. You will scowl at the other parents and children in the school bragging about their brilliant grades (although you know you’d probably be the same).

    Key Phrases:
    “It’s all going to be fine”
    “Don’t worry, Simon Cowell didn’t have any O Levels”
    “When one door closes, another one opens”


    Hopefully you will have recovered from either scenario, and the blur of results day will have clarified. Whether overjoyed or disappointed, you will be extremely relieved that it’s over, and exhausted from all the emotions of the day!


    • Try not to let your child see how anxious you are, as this anxiety will only make them feel worse!
    • Let your child read their results in private, and come to you when they’re ready
    • Remind them that GCSEs and A-Levels are not the be-all and end-all, and exams can always be retaken
    • Try your best (we know it will be hard) not to cry, whatever the results are.
    • Don’t brag to other parents if your child has done really well; they might not be in the same position and it can be insensitive.
    • ALWAYS be supportive. Your children rely on you more than anyone else – your job is to be there for them.

    And just think, in 24 hours it’ll all be over and done with…

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